Talk about burying bad news on a busy news day.
As half the country was fixating on Brexit and how many resignations might happen as a consequence, around 5 pm this evening Falkirk based musician/film maker Adam Stafford was announcing a different type of resignation on Twitter:
Thanks folks, that’s it. I’m finished with releasing and performing music. There was a bunch of Y’all is Fantasy Island reunion and solo shows booked for the new year, but I’m cancelling them this afternoon…
it’s been a weird year but it’s all getting mentally draining now and there is only so long you can throw everything into something and get so little back, only so long you can play to half empty rooms to muted applause…
only so long you can slavishly obsess over an LP that no one particularly wants or needs. So thanks to everyone who has been kind over the years, especially to @gerryloves & @SongbyToad & @CreativeScots . So long for now xo
It hardly needs saying but MPT has been a big fan of Adam’s over the last few years. ‘Imaginary Walls Collapse’ was my favourite LP of the year in 2013 and ‘Atheist Money’ was my favourite single of 2015. Along with Andy, I was also fortunate to promote one of Adam’s shows in Dundee whilst I’m guessing that I’ve seen him perform live on more than a dozen occasions. At least. An initial search of the blog suggests that there are 60 posts to explore on this site alone!
I first came across Adam opening for Martin John Henry a good few years ago when, even if he initially was only playing to half a dozen people, he still put in a mesmeric performance.
That set a benchmark for every subsequent time I saw Adam play- he was never less than fully committed to the moment on stage. A couple of live memories stand out – a cataclysmic ‘Penshaw Monument’ which concluded on his back on the floor in front of a depressingly empty Dexter’s in Dundee contrasting with a group of dancers (yes, dancers!) at the conclusion of one New Portsound show.
On record, with the assistance of long term collaborator, Robbie Lesiuk, he always strived for the imaginative, often meshing what on the face it would appear to be contradictory styles into something wonderful and cohesive. Over a trilogy of albums for Song, By Toad he veered at will from abstract soundscapes to accessible pop gems, yet all the time sounding only like himself.
And that’s not to mention the ‘Reverse Drift’ soundtrack to his book of photos on Gerry Loves Records or even the ‘Torments Through Supernatural Flogging’ EP only available through his own Bandcamp.
His final album, this year’s astonishing ‘Fire Behind The Curtain‘, is a remarkable, all-instrumental double album, arguably his defining statement. It’s incomprehensible that this record won’t be in every Top 10 list for 2018 – other than for the fact that most people simply won’t have heard of him.
Adam’s retiral from music is a massive loss for the Scottish music scene, both as a performer and as an innovative recording artist. Yet there’s no doubt that, if music is becoming a negative influence in his life, he needs to look after himself and his family first and foremost.
Still, I do hope that, at some stage, he feels the need and is able to record music again in some way. But even if he doesn’t then he has left a significant body of work behind that the world can slowly catch up on in coming years.
The cult starts here.
Here’s a couple of videos for songs from ‘Taser Revelations’ and ‘Fire Behind The Curtain’ which give you an idea of his range and his talent: